alumni Spotlight

January Alumni Spotlight with Adrienne Bricker, MSEd ‘13


Many students become intrigued by the prospect of a career in higher education. Perhaps they loved their experience and decided to help pass it on to incoming students. Or they adore the complexity and challenges of the higher education arena. This month we speak to Higher Education Administration alumna and Director, Office of the Registrar at the University of Minnesota, Adrienne Bricker about her interest in administration, leading the registrar’s office, and more.

When did you first become interested in higher education?
Like many higher education administrators, I started as a student employee. As an undergraduate dance major, I served as an admissions assistant for three years, training tour guides, serving on student panels, and doing data entry and cleanup projects. After my junior year, I was offered a summer internship in the financial aid office and they kept me through the year. In my senior year, I also was elected the senior representative to our Dance Council, so I represented our student body at department faculty meetings. I think that was the year when it truly dawned on me that not only could you work with students and faculty for a job, but such a job could involve tech, writing, policy, and leadership. I moved to New York to pursue dance for a couple years, and then leveraged my experiences into that first job at Queens. By the time I moved into that second job, I was hooked.

Why did you come to the Marxe School for your MSEd? What was your experience like?
I started at the Marxe School with a few years of experience under my belt. I had almost completed a second bachelor's degree in Accounting at Queens College where I was working as a financial aid counselor. After I was given a shot at a leadership role in the Registrar's Office there, I decided to stick with higher ed. I withdrew from that program and enrolled at Marxe the very next semester. I figured if I was going to make a go at a career in higher education, I wanted to learn everything I could so that I could serve students, faculty, and staff well. The decision to attend as a CUNY employee was a logical one since I had a tuition benefit and the classes fit into my schedule. That said, I quickly learned how well-rounded the program is. This has served me well as I advance my career in records and enrollment administration.

I really enjoyed (and enjoy!) my experience at the Marxe School. I found friends in many of my classmates and have kept in touch with several of my instructors as well. I studied everything from the David Swenson's investment philosophy at Yale to intrusive advising models, from the Bennett hypothesis on tuition and aid to implementing and defending a strategic budget cut. I find that things I learned in the program come back to help me when I'm least expecting them. It was faculty at the Marxe School who encouraged me to pursue doctoral study in the field of organizational leadership. I have also been fortunate to keep supporting the program and learning in the Marxe community by serving on career panels for current students and guest speaking in several classes there, even virtually now from Minnesota.

What do you find appealing about working in the registrar's office?
It is such a cliché in the higher ed world, but in my role there are no two days--or even hours--that are alike. I currently work at the University of Minnesota which is an extremely complex institution. It's interesting and challenging work; I learn something new every day. I firmly believe that if you really want to understand how a university works, the registrar's office is the place to be. A lot of detailed work is required here, but there are also many opportunities to automate and improve processes and services to students by partnering with faculty and staff throughout the university. Another reason this is an exciting time to be a registrar is the pace of change in technology; I am sure our information systems and the ways that students access and share their records will be completely different ten years from now. There are many opportunities in the registrar and enrollment professions and I'd encourage all Marxe students to learn more.